Feast of Cornelius Hill (June 27)   3 comments

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, Oneida, Wisconsin

A Photograph by Matthew P. Payne

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CORNELIUS HILL (NOVEMBER 13, 1834-JANUARY 25, 1907)

Oneida Chief and Episcopal Priest

Born Onangwatgo (“Big Medicine”)

Federal removal and relocation of Native American tribes is one of the most shameful aspects of U.S. history.  Other nations have similarly dark treatment of their indigenous peoples in their history, but Cornelius Hill lived within the borders of the United States, and such policies constitute the the backdrop of his biography, so I mention U.S. mistreatment of Native Americans in this post.

Hill, born in Wisconsin in 1834, entered the world after the relocation of his people from New York state.  He studied at Nashotah House, an Episcopal seminary, in Wisconsin.  There Hill learned the faith, worship, and traditions of The Episcopal Church.  This faith strengthened him when advocating for the rights of his people, who suffered from economic hardship and other depridations.

Hill opposed land allotment, the process meant to assimilate Native peoples into the dominant U.S. culture by emphasizing individual land ownership and selling off “excess” land to corporate interests.  This damaged Native American culture, but became federal law in 1893 under the Dawes Act.  Our indigenous brethren, generally speaking, have had a different understanding of the land.  It is sacred to them, and they belong to it.  And Hill had company in his opposition to land allotment.  The Reverend Edward A. Goodnough, an Episcopal priest and missionary, Hill’s mentor, defended Native cultural rights, too.

Hill, a chief since his adolescence, became a great Oneida leader.  He lost the fight against land allotment, but he became a deacon in 1903 and the first Oneida priest two years later.  He considered faith to be an effective way for his people to grapple with the profound changes white people forced upon the Oneida Nation.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 12, 2010 COMMON ERA

FEAST OF ST. JOSAPHAT, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF POLOTSK, AND MARTYR

FEAST OF CHARLES SIMEON, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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Everliving Lord of the universe, our loving God, you raised up your priest Cornelius Hill, last hereditary chief of the Oneida nation, to shepherd and defend his people against attempts to scatter them in the wilderness:  Help us, like him, to be dedicated to truth and honor, that we may come to that blessed state you have prepared for us; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Amos 5:14-15

Psalm 90:1-2, 14-17

Romans 14:12-19

John 10:7-18

3 responses to “Feast of Cornelius Hill (June 27)

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  1. Mr. Taylor,

    Thank you for this post. The dailyoffice.org website and blog are using Mr. Payne’s photograph, and linking to your blog, as part of our observance of Chief Fr. Hill’s feast day on June 27, 2011.

    Josh Thomas

  2. Pingback: Feast of David Pendleton Oakerhater (September 1) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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